The Bookworm Sez: Know your rights, keep your family safe

The Bookworm Sez: Know your rights, keep your family safe

You know your rights.

You’re well aware of what you can and can’t do legally because you’ve armed yourself with knowledge. You have rights and, in the new book “Rossen to the Rescue” by Jeff Rossen (c.2017, Flatiron Books, $24.99, 256 pages), one of them is the right not to be scammed, schemed, or unsafe.

So, let’s say you’re on a cross-country flight. The attendant just handed you something with ice, you’ve got the seat back, you’ll be at your destination in no time – and then something goes BUMP. Hard. What will you do if there’s a disaster?

As a National Investigative Correspondent and NBC News contributor, Jeff Rossen set out to find out. Surviving air disasters, home invasions, locked cars, and cheating claw games are just some of the things he knows. Here, he shares what learned about them, and more.

First, says Rossen, don’t say “Don’t panic.” He hates those words because you will panic. It’s what you do after that first gasp that makes a difference in disaster, so go ahead and panic. Then take action.

You have the right, for instance, to keep yourself and your family safe. More than 130 homes are invaded every day in America , and a simple, less-than-a-dollar device can boost your chances of not being one of them. A one-minute task now will help you avoid getting ripped-off if you’re locked out of your house tomorrow, while a 30-second fix on your laptop might save your privacy. And be sure to have the five-minute “Stranger Danger” talk … with your teen!

You have the right to be healthy. Did you know what sits beneath your refrigerator, for example, and what it might contain? Do you know how to avoid germs on airplanes, how you might be using a car seat incorrectly, or how to escape if your vehicle is submerged in water?

Stay away from train tracks, Rossen learned in his investigations. Know what you legally must do when stopped by a police officer. Always wash new underwear before wearing it. And monitor your credit, especially if there’s a child in the family.

Sometimes, ensuring that you’re secure can seem like drudge-work: so many calls to make, forms to fill out, things to do wrong. It can make you grumpy so, before you go any further, read “Rossen to the Rescue.”

Cautionary tales like these can often be dark and ominous, but author Jeff Rossen shines serious light on scammers and dangers and things that go BUMP in your flight. With the help of his trusty staff, a bit of humor, and accounts of actual (sometimes shocking) experiments, he details cures for common, and not-so-common, consumer complaints. Then he exposes others that mightn’t have reached your awareness. For readers, that means a fun read that’ll teach you something, too.

If you have anything to protect, or if you merely live and operate in today’s world, here’s your next book. “Rossen to the Rescue” does double-duty: it keeps you safe, and it makes you chuckle. And if you think that’s enjoyable reading – you know you’re right.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Email her at

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